The Cardinals are off today. They will practice Monday, but that practice will not be open to the public. The open workouts resume Tuesday. As always, the entire camp schedule can be seen right here.
Finally, a game week has arrived. The Cardinals open the preseason Saturday night at home against the Texans. Bruce Arians said there will be no game planning, no watching of any Houston video (not that it would matter, since the Texans have changed coaches since last year.) This is where the NFL season really becomes the NFL season, with the ebb and flow of a few days of practice before a game every weekend.
– Yes, it caused a stir when Bruce Arians said Jonathan Cooper has to play better. Like most coaches, Arians has a purpose to what he says. Sometimes he’s trying to show confidence in his guys. And sometimes, he’s trying to light a fire under them. Cooper is going to get his chances though. He’s the seventh overall pick. The leash is naturally longer. That said, you know Arians won’t hesitate to make a change. That is a threat that can be understood.
– The only downside of being embedded with Aeneas Williams over the weekend was missing Fan Fest and the goalline drill. One thing that has struck me watching those highlights and practice over the first week — I will be surprised if running back (fullback?) Robert Hughes doesn’t make this roster.
– If you missed the story of Williams’ induction night in Canton, check it out here.
Tags: Bruce Arians, Fan Fest, Jonathan Cooper, Robert Hughes, training camp
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Bruce Arians isn’t exactly sparse with praise. He’ll hand it out when he deems it necessary, but it’s not like pulling teeth like some coaches. So you hear him talk about guard Jonathan Cooper and it raises a flag. Arians said Cooper needs to raise his level of play. “I’m a little disappointed with where Coop is at right now,” Arians said. “I’d hope he come a little faster.”
Now, Arians does say it’s because Cooper is rusty. Cooper missed all of last season with his broken leg. But he needs to start playing better. Arians also said he wants Earl Watford — who must play both guard spots to be able to dress Sundays — to be able to push Cooper. Given that Cooper was the seventh overall pick last year, that’s a very big deal. The Cardinals need Cooper to play and play well. Sooner rather than later.
– WR John Brown will sit out today’s Fan Fest practice to rest the bad hamstring. No reason to push it.
– There will be some live tackling in today’s practice. It’ll be the only live tackling of training camp.
– QB Carson Palmer was talking nicknames. He said Jared Veldheer’s nickname in Oakland was “The Big Serious.” And he mentioned Brown’s nickname “Smoke” or “Smokey” — which he already had when he arrived in Arizona — has to do with the trail he leaves in his wake after making a catch.
Tags: Earl Watford, Jared Veldheer, John Brown, Jonathan Cooper, training camp
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The Cardinals got a day off today from practice before doing two more workouts Friday and Saturday, which is the Fan Fest workout. After slamming into each other for three straight days, it’s good to get a reprieve. And to think, with practice just across town at University of Phoenix Stadium, it’s easy to pop home for the day. I know I appreciate it.
“It’s a little bit of everything,” running back Jonathan Dwyer said. “Get your mind away from football for a day. Guys who have family can spend time with their young ones, like myself. Just rest our bodies and come back to work the next day.”
– Speaking of Fan Fest, click here for all the details of the practice.
– What stood out through the first five days of practice? WR John Brown, obviously. Confidence in CB Justin Bethel’s progress. Thinking that TE John Carlson, if he can stay off the injury report, could have a very nice year catching the ball. Kareem Martin is going to have a key role on the defensive line, I think. Michael Floyd is destined to improve on his season a year ago.
– I’m off to Canton tomorrow to cover the induction of cornerback Aeneas Williams into the Pro Football Hall of Fame Saturday. I’ll still have stuff on the blog from both Canton and training camp, and my cohort Kyle Odegard will be the boots on the ground at University of Phoenix Stadium. He did a nice piece on Bobby Massie today. Speaking of Aeneas, I hope you’ve been checking out all the content on the special Aeneas Williams page (azcardinals.com/aeneas). I’ll have a big story on Williams posted tomorrow first thing.
Tags: Aeneas Williams, Hall of Fame, John Brown, John Carlson, Jonathan Dwyer, Justin Bethel, Kareem Martin, Michael Floyd, training camp
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Not a lot newsy out of Bruce Arians’ presser today. Patrick Peterson’s contract and press conference is dominating (and I’ll have that story in a bit). One Peterson thing to pass along from Arians however. He was talking about Peterson’s abilities, and the stats, and B.A. has already made it clear how he doesn’t see how outsiders can truly judge Peterson’s play. He noted how he was watching the Calvin Johnson TD catch from the Lions-Cards game last year, and how whoever was on TV was blaming Peterson for the play.
“There was a pass he gets blamed for, and they are saying lazy technique,” Arians said. “It was zone coverage and the inside guy should have picked it off. Karlos (let it go) through his hands. It’s not his man. The people who watch those things and stat them, they don’t know what we are asking him to do.”
Not that it matters. The Cardinals paid Peterson and they and Peterson himself believe in what he is.
Arians called him the “perfect citizen.” He also said that while the contract situation would not have affected Peterson, he was happy to avoid the distraction through the media had it not been done.
– Arians said there was nothing new on the injury front. LB Lorenzo Alexander will skip practice today in a move that was scheduled. RB Andre Ellington and DT Dan Williams are both expected back at practice Friday.
– Tight end Darren Fells “got my attention for the first time” in Tuesday’s practice, Arians said, especially with his blocking.
Tags: Bruce Arians, Darren Fells, Lorenzo Alexander, Patrick Peterson, training camp
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Yu mad bro!!!! LMAO😂😂😂😂😭
— Patrick Peterson (@RealPeterson21) July 30, 2014
Can’t ever be too mad lmao… pic.twitter.com/ZHA28B9Tji
— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) July 30, 2014
Tags: Arizona Cardinals, AZ Cardinals, AZ Cards, NFL, Patrick Peterson, Richard Sherman, Seahawks, Seattle Seahawks, training camp
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The Cardinals collected a handful of injuries on their first day of padded practice, the most serious of which is the left calf injury to starting center Lyle Sendlein that will sideline Sendlein for three weeks, coach Bruce Arians said. In his place, Ted Larsen will play center. It’s not a huge deal, since Sendlein will return in camp and is experienced enough to overcome missing practice.
Cornerback Antonio Cromartie is also expected to miss four or five days with a pectoral injury, while running back Andre Ellington (neck) will miss Tuesday’s work. Also hurting are linebacker Ernie Sims (back spasms), nose tackle Christian Topou (groin) and cornerback Todd Washington (groin). The Topou injury is interesting because fellow nose tackles Dan Williams (knee) and Alameda Ta’amu (PUP – knee) are already sitting. All hands on deck, Arians said, which means some mixing and matching on the defensive line.
– The news came out that linebacker John Abraham, who has been absent from training camp thus far, was arrested for a DUI in Georgia in late June. Arians had no comment, other than to say he knew of the arrest and was actually in Georgia at the same time. Arians also had no comment when asked if the arrest had anything to do with Abraham’s absence, and said he does not know when Abraham will show up to camp. Given Abraham’s experience, missing some training camp isn’t the worst thing in the world. But he barely was on the field all of the offseason too, and the sack production on the roster beyond him is extremely limited. His situation will be important to watch as the days pass.
– Arians said LB Sam Acho had a good day in his first padded practice with a couple of forced fumbles and with his pass rush, a big deal given the Abraham circumstances.
– The kicking rotation will remain with two guys going in a day and the third resting. As for Arians’ evaluation so far, “Cat (Chandler Catanzaro) has been perfect, that’s the only impression I can gather from it. The rest of the guys haven’t been. The numbers don’t lie.” As for the eventual decision, “We’ll see how they do in games. Practices are one thing, games are another. I’ve seen Jay in games for 12 years so I don’t need to see Jay in a lot of games. I know he’s got nerves. The other two guys, you want to see them do it in front of the crowd.”
– Former Cardinals tackle Eric Winston finally found a team Tuesday, signing with the Seahawks.
Tags: Alameda Ta'amu, Andre Ellington, Antonio Cromartie, Bruce Arians, Chandler Catanzaro, Christian Topou, Dan Williams, Eric Winston, Ernie Sims, John Abraham, Lyle Sendlein, Sam Acho, Ted Larsen, Todd Washington, training camp
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The first padded practice was exactly what you’d want — eventful, with a lot of hitting. Unfortunately, such things can come with a price. Starting center Lyle Sendlein left early in the workout during one-on-one drills with the defensive line after hurting his left calf. No word on the seriousness of the injury. Ted Larsen stepped in to play center on the first unit and as 11-on-11 began, you could tell the chemistry with Larsen and QB Carson Palmer were not there. There were a couple of misplayed snaps/fumbles in the first few plays. It got ironed out. We’ll see what will happen with Sendlein.
Otherwise, the hitting was intense. During the pass protection drills between the linebackers and tight ends/running backs, it’s tough to see Bruce Arians get any more fired up than he did with that. There were some incredible collisions, including when linebacker Kenny Demens just crushed running back Damien Thigpen (who, to be fair, is only 5-8 and 180).
But it was hard not to notice that rookie wide receiver John Brown, who everyone raved about but said needed to wear pads and prove it that way, still shined. His first long pass after putting on pads, he beat cornerback Justin Bethel — who isn’t exactly slow — by a couple of steps and hauled in an 82-yard touchdown in stride. More on Brown on the homepage in a bit.
In other notes:
– Sendlein wasn’t the only injury. Defensive tackle is becoming an issue. Alameda Ta’amu is already on PUP and Dan Williams sat out with a sore left knee, so Christian Tupou stepped in in the middle of the 3-4 defense — only to leave early with what looked like some kind of right thigh injury. He walked off the field at the end of practice, though, having taken off his ice wrap, so it may not be a big deal.
– The fears of having a big hitter at safety: On one play, wide receiver Jaron Brown couldn’t hold on to a pass in the end zone with cornerback Jerraud Powers behind him and rookie safety Deone Bucannon coming at his chest. But Bucannon was a step or two away, and popped him (not full on) after Brown dropped the pass. Arians yelled across the field, “That’s a flag” so Bucannon understood that just can’t happen in today’s game. It was bang-bang, but Arians is right — it probably draws a penalty.
– The Cardinals ran a “fire” field goal drill on a “mishandled” snap. Holder Dave Zastudil rolled left and lofted a pass toward undrafted rookie tackle Kelvin Palmer. Palmer, 6-4 and 302, made a great catch while shielding the ball with his body from coverage linebacker Alex Okafor. I wish I had a picture or video. It was impressive from the big man.
– Former Cardinals offensive lineman Leonard “Bigg” Davis made an appearance on the sideline, as did former safety Kwamie Lassiter.
Tags: Christian Tupou, Damien Thigpen, Dan Williams, Dave Zastudil, Deone Bucannon, John Brown, Kelvin Palmer, Kenny Demens, Leonard Davis, Lyle Sendlein, Ted Larsen, training camp
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The Cardinals will put on the pads for the first time this afternoon, which changes the dynamic of training camp. That was part of the theme today when GM Steve Keim went on the Doug and Wolf show on Arizona Sports 620 this morning — what will happen when the pads go on.
– Keim wants to see rookie WR John Brown in pads, and see what the kid can do coming across the middle when, say safety Deone Bucannon is about to drill him. That’s not a big surprise, since it’s what everyone has been saying about Brown. He’s been impressive. “We haven’t been able to cover him,” Keim said. But that could change when the pads go on. As Patrick Peterson said, after Brown burned him on a play, “I told him he’s not going to be that much faster than me when he’s got those shoulder pads on.”
– Keim said he thought right tackle Bobby Massie looks like he’s in the best shape of his career (and I have always thought Massie was in pretty good shape anyway) and “he looks focused.” But Keim wants to see Massie in pads too, and frankly, that’s the only real way to judge linemen.
– The GM admitted to having a concern in the offseason for guard Jonathan Cooper after noticing a “little limp,” but the first two practices have erased those concerns.
– Asked about absent linebacker John Abraham, Keim said “I’m not concerned at all. He’ll be back at some point here and Bruce (Arians) has excused him for personal matters.”
– With Aeneas Williams going into the Hall of Fame Saturday, we have created a page for Aeneas (azcardinals.com/aeneas) where all the stories and videos about Williams will live. Check it out.
Tags: Aeneas Williams, Bobby Massie, John Abraham, John Brown, Patrick Peterson, Steve Keim, training camp
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Tags: Arizona Cardinals, AZ Cardinals, AZ Cards, NFL, training camp, University of Phoenix stadium
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Bruce Arians said today that the starting right tackle and starting right guard positions are Bobby Massie’s and Paul Fanaika’s to lose, which he also said has more to do with how well they are doing than what Bradley Sowell and Earl Watford are not doing. Arians even said Massie did not show up on the mental-error sheet from Saturday’s first practice, which is a big deal. “We’re not going to shuffle a lot anymore,”Arians said, although he emphasized “there is plenty of time to win or lose a job once we start hitting.”
The pads go on Monday.
Watford is “more than ready” to contend for a starting job, Arians said but Fanaika is playing well. And again, things can change. “If anyone says they are starting you are writing the wrong thing,” Arians said with a chuckle.
In other news:
– Much more in a Patrick Peterson story here, but the Pro Bowl cornerback will not be playing receiver or returning punts this season. Neither move is a surprise, although Arians said Tyrann Mathieu’s injury did not play a factor. Peterson also said he is not unhappy he doesn’t yet have a new contract. “Those guys are still talking,” Peterson said, in reference to ongoing contract negotiations. “I’m here to play football. I have two years left on my deal and I want to do the best I can to help this team win. I haven’t been to the playoffs since I’ve been here and that’s my first goal.”
– Tight end Jake Ballard is the first injury of camp, although Arians said his thigh bruise is minor. He’ll skip today’s practice but could be back Monday.
– Arians said he was disappointed in the number of mental errors committed by offensive veterans on Saturday.
– LB John Abraham remains absent. “I won’t really comment on it,” Arians said. “I won’t get into personal things. He’s got my blessing.”
– Arians did say he has been impressed with the work second-year OLB Alex Okafor has done since he got hurt last season as a rookie. Okafor is working with the first unit in place of Abraham.
Tags: Alex Okafor, Bobby Massie, Bradley Sowell, Bruce Arians, Earl Watford, Jake Ballard, John Abraham, Patrick Peterson, Paul Fanaika, training camp, Tyrann Mathieu
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